The Seagull 205A is a rare camera with an interesting backstory. It's an improvement on the Seagull 205, a rangefinder that was based on the FED 35 camera. While it's not rare to find cameras that are copied from other cameras made by other brands, the Seagull 205A is unique because it was made by different factories based in Shanghai, China. All of those factories operated under the name Shanghai Camera Factory. Another interesting tidbit about the Seagull 205 is that it was also sold under the name Phenix 205.
Not a lot of information is available on Seagull rangefinders specifically but it is known that the company started manufacturing cameras in Shanghai in 1964. Another notable camera made by that company was the Shanghai 58 which was based on the popular Leica IIIa. The company added improvements borrowed from Canon and FED cameras of the time.
The Seagull 205A is a compact mechanical rangefinder that uses a 4-element 38 mm lens with an f/2.8 aperture. It has a bright rangefinder and its viewfinder has parallax correction markings for more accurate framing. The 205A also cocks the shutter when the film is advanced. It's a pretty straightforward camera that can take decent photos with brilliant color and good image quality.
Looks-wise, the 205A is a beautiful camera. It has a classic styling that ages gracefully. The handgrip on the right side of the camera body offers easier handling while the textured leatherette adds more grip. It may not be the prettiest camera out there but for a camera that was made in the 60s, it looks pretty good. Not to mention it is a camera that has pretty much flown under the radar for more 50 years. It's no wonder that this camera is a collectible, especially for those who are familiar with its history and its shooting capabilities.
Photos Taken by Our Community Members
Film: 35 mm
Lens: 38 mm 4-element Haiou lens
Aperture: f/2.8 to f/16
Shutter Speed: 1/300 s to 1 s with Bulb mode
Closest Focusing Distance: 1 m